Wikipedia:Taking the road less traveled
This page is an essay on the Ignore all rules policy and the Be bold guideline.
|This page in a nutshell: Doing things differently from others can often yield better results.|
I'm shocked that I didn't find any reference to this wonderful phrase, 'the road less traveled', connecting it to a well known old writing by Matthew, the Gospel writer in 60 AD, almost 2000 years ago. In Matthew 7:13 - 14 he quotes Jesus who was teaching about the Way to Heaven, when he said "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." Jesus was explaining that the road to Heaven is not popular, while He also was clear that He himself was The Way (John 14:6). His way was established when He died for the sins of mankind, and this forgiveness is available to all who are willing to acknowledge and repent of their sins, and ask the Spirit of Jesus into their hearts, into their lives to guide and strengthen them from that point forward. This isn't easy, because it requires the Receiver to humble themselves and acknowledge that they are flawed, as are all humans. This is why most won't take this road.
The road less traveled
Metaphorically speaking, someone who takes 'the road less traveled' is acting independently, freeing themselves from the conformity of others (who choose to take 'the road more often traveled.'), generally making their own choices, and perhaps leaving a new trail that will become the road more often traveled (until, of course, someone takes the road less traveled from there, and happens upon something even better than the first improvement; in that way, the cycle always repeats itself, and Wikipedia is continually made better).
This idea of taking the road less traveled, or doing things a separate way from the way they are usually done, while applicable to many aspects of life, is in particular applicable to Wikipedia. If one, as an editor, or even as a reader, happens across a way to do something, anything, more easily or in a better fashion that it is commonly or is always done, then one should probably take the road less traveled and give it a shot. If this is done, the person in question might leave a trail that will become the road more often traveled. However, this is not the general meaning of the whole poem. One could possibly pick out the meaning based on what he/she may already know or by using simple context clues to figure out the meaning.
The road more often traveled
Despite the obvious advantages of taking the road less traveled, there are certain times when taking this path is not always the best choice, and it might be better just to stick with the road more often traveled. Taking another road just to circumvent the road more often traveled, the road that policy is built on, is not constructive. Making the choice of which road to take can sometimes be hard, and is very dependent on the situation.
One must assess the possible advantages, disadvantages and risks of taking either road, just as any real-life explorer or traveler would.
Another school of thought suggests that the "road less traveled" is the harder, less attractive road. Most people will take the easier road. Most people search for the easier paths through life; however, the easier paths are often the less eventful. Overcoming adversity generally advances us the most in our awareness and understanding of the world. It is very rare that a person would ever say they were willing to "undo" an experience, regardless of how difficult it was. The road less traveled brings us more experience, and more experience enables us to live more. The road less traveled can make all the difference. We ought not aspire to be as enlightened as a flea.
|“||Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
Ironically, the meaning of "Taking the road less traveled" is a misinterpretation of the poem which in the second and third stanzas describe the two roads being equally attractive. The poem therefore is reflecting on how we reconcile our decisions over time often giving more weight to the wisdom of our decisions than was true of the original circumstances.